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Thinking About Parental Rights
how does the law balance parental rights and child's best interest?
Note: I am in Canada and I write about Canadian politics. Currently the issue of pediatric gender expression and identity has become a political hot topic. When the Trudeau Regime imposed Gender Self-ID on Canada in 2016, no robust discussion took place — an authoritarian parliament coupled with a strong lobbyist NGO sector and an impotent + compliant + mediocre media silenced any debate that could have improved Bill C-16 and also C-6, that could have created a well crafted and solid piece of legislative history. Gender Identity and Gender Expression have found their way into the Human Rights Acts federally and across provinces, with little or no public debate.
I have started writing about Canadian jurisprudence and the legislations that governs gender in Canada because I find there is a dearth of information written for the public, and there is not a whole lot written in the CanLii world. Adventures of Bad Hijabi takes me where the truth seeking must go. Right now, that’s the Canadian Justice department. Bear with me, a nursing/medical and human behaviour specialist, as I become a legal writer!
Recently parent lobby groups succeeded in convincing the Premier of New Brunswick that he should implement a policy to put the brakes on social transitioning in schools. Manitoba followed, making an announcement that Parental Rights will become an election issue. Then Saskatchewan announced its policy change. This created a stir amongst the SOGI (Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity) proponents. SOGI creates the contagion of gender confusion and then schools find themselves having to support children who became confused because of the SOGI culture that spreads through schools.
Parental Rights have become a hot topic in Canada. This essay asks what are Parental Rights in the eyes of Canadian law, and how has that changed over time?
Premier Higgs took the courageous step and then Premiers Stefanson and Moe did the same. Each of these Premiers announced that their education department would implement a new parental rights policy. Premier Higgs acted in response to a growing tide of parents concerned about mitigating the effects of SOGI-fuelled disembodiment + dissociation that leads children to believe they have the wrong body because of their gender identity. Such children receive gender affirmation by schools, in order to comply with the provincial Human Rights Act. Gender Affirmation consists of pronouns, name change, fashion changes, and then a course of experimental hormone treatments + surgical body modification treatments. Trans friendly studies demonstrate the social transitioning leads to medical transitioning. The often cited Olson study, for example.
SOGI proponents, whom I will refer to as Genderists, call this phenomenon gender dysphoria, a condition in which the child’s “gender identity” does not match his/her physiologic sex and which necessitates a treatment regimen called “gender transitioning”, a part of a larger experimental medical approach called “gender affirming care”. Recently Ontario has also announced a parental rights policy and has signalled the beginning of a movement away from Culturally Responsive + Reactive Pedagogy1 and a return to traditional pedagogy. The influence of the Trudeau Regime’s corrupt + divisive leadership shows nearly everywhere in Canada, no more so than in public education, though. Jurisdictional aside, Trudeau’s narcissistic manner of exploiting every difference and making it into a political wedge has seeped into nearly every part of Canada, like a fast growing social metastasis.
Eight years into an extended date with Trudeau, the country has decided it wants to revoke its consent and kick to the curb the national clown mascot who has a penchant for kooky socks. Skippy sailed in on a promise of equity and feminist values and he delivered a regime state, complete with a homophobic, misogynistic, misopedic, misanthropic social + health + education policy, complete with state-sponsored rape, complete with state eugenics such as medically assisted dying, complete with mandated chemical castration for children who exhibit emotional + psychological distress, complete with forced mass social deprivation and solitary confinement, complete with a violent and extreme and sexually perverse and pathocratic minority that holds the rest of society hostage.
Canada, unlike Iran, does not execute it’s citizens in the masses — so far Iran has executed 500 people this year. However, we do socially ostracise people and even drive them to kill themselves or want to desperately end their lives. We also have a policy of genocide we call harm reduction and it has killed records numbers in Vancouver alone recently. We actually offer medically assisted death to patients who seek treatment for suicidal ideation. Yes, we will even affirm your self destructive tendency because we are cool like that. Even when you ask us to save you we will tell you to die. The state murdered Shiela Lewis by denying her a lung transplant when she followed medical advice and refuse the mRNA shot, she recently died of lung fibrosis. So, good for us, we cause less mess and make less noise. That does not make us better, it makes us more civilised in our self destruction.
I do not recognise my country as I write this. Self destruct mode, this is.
Be clear, self destruction describes Canada’s situation perfectly. We picked up that rolled up $20 bill someone handed us at the party one night and said try it, pointing to a pile of white powder sitting atop a mirror. Just try it, it will feel good. You can stop anytime. Only the thing with cocaine is YOU CANNOT STOP. You hopefully are not loaded with money because only running out of funds will stop you killing yourself with that white powdered devil. Rats in the lab pressed the lever to get more cocaine until they died. Two terms with Skippy and The Woko Haram and Canada feels like that rat in the lab with the cocaine. Can we stop ourselves? Are we done now? I hope so.
So, what are parental rights?
What are we even talking about when we say Parental Rights?
We mean the right of parents to know what is happening with their kids at school, we mean schools not keeping vital information secret from parents.
Okay, that’s not a real right thought — Canada does not have an overt legal doctrine known as Parental Rights, not in the way intended by parents groups — is the right to know your child’s secret and genuine right we ought to press for? Parental Rights exist against your co-parent, not your kid. Parental Rights sounds as though children belong to their parents, like chattel to control. Children are not chattel of their parents. Children are persons under the law and, as such, have individual human rights all their own. We must consider children’s human rights in concert with parental inclusion. So perhaps we mean Parental Inclusion when we say Parental Rights.
Wait though. The views of children as proprietary to their parents dominate until the early 1900s. The state did prioritise the preferences of the parents over the wellbeing of the child in adoption cases, and I doubt we would see those rulings today.
We can trace the doctrine of parental rights to Rand in Hepton et al v. Maat et al., a case in which the natural parents had decided to give their kids up for adoption and signed the consent and then changed their minds three months later and received custody of their natural children, a set of twins. In this case the children’s best interest was not considered, the parental right to their children was considered by the court, who ordered their removal from the only parents they had known, to return then to their natural parents.
prima facie the natural parents are entitled to custody unless by reason of some act, condition or circumstance affecting them it is evident that the welfare of the child requires that that fundamental natural relation be severed. As parens patriae the Sovereign is the constitutional guardian of children, but that power arises in a community in which the family is the social unit. No one would, for a moment, suggest that the power ever extended to the disruption of that unity by seizing any of its children at the whim or for any public or private purpose of the Sovereign or for any other purpose than that of the welfare of one unable, because of infancy, to care for himself. The controlling fact in the type of case we have here is that the welfare of the child can never be determined as an isolated fact, that is, as if the child were free from natural parental bonds entailing moral responsibility—as if, for example, he were a homeless orphan wandering at large.
The view of the child’s welfare conceives it to lie, first, within the warmth and security of the home provided by his parents. — Rand J, Hepton et al. v. Maat et al., 1957 CanLII 18 (SCC),  SCR 606
The law reflects the values of its society and that means this proprietary view of children has evolved, such that courts now consider the best interests of the child, the parents have a natural responsibility to their child, and the state will protect that attachment as long as the parents can and will discharge their duties to their children. Today would such a decision as Hepton v Maat be considered to pass the child’s best interest test? It seems not obvious that the natural parents who gave their kids up and then had changed their minds are in the best interest of the children. Nonetheless the Parental Rights Doctrine exists. In the 1950s, the extreme view that parents have a sort of “ownership” of their kid served as the norm. Today the pendulum has swung in the other direction. The law now longer considers the child as proprietary to the parents, in Re Moores and Feldstein et al., 1973 CanLII 535 (ON CA), Dubin wrote:
This argument [Rand’s argument, above] was specifically rejected in the House of Lords and the cases of Re Agar-Ellis, supra, and Re Carroll, supra, were vigorously disapproved of in colourful language. I think it fair to say that, as a result of the judgment in the case of J. v. C., the present state of the law in England is that set forth in the following language of Lord Justice Danckwerts in Re Adoption Application 41/61,  Ch. 315, at p. 329:
... I would respectfully point out that there can only be one "first and paramount consideration", and other considerations must be subordinate. The mere desire of a parent to have his child must be subordinate to the consideration of the welfare of the child, and can be effective only if it coincides with the welfare of the child. Consequently, it cannot be correct to talk of the pre-eminent position of parents, or of their exclusive right to the custody of their children, when the future welfare of those children is being considered by the court.
As Lord MacDermott put it in the case of J. v. C. at p. 714:
"... and that means an end of any presumption of law respecting parental rights and wishes so far as the test of welfare is concerned".
Justice Dubin did not negate parental rights, he merely placed them in a proper context, balanced by the child’s welfare — cases in which the Judge rules children returned to their natural parents happened because that served the best interest of the child and not because it served the parents’ wishes. According to the Dubin best interest test, the parents have no prior claim to the child, they are simply amongst the factors to consider in the child’s welfare. This test places the child first, and all else after, including parents’s wishes.
So we have two approaches to assessing a child’s best interest here - the doctrine of parental rights versus the best interest test. The former assigns an advantage to the parents and the latter assigns or assumes not such advantage and requires evidence of benefit. Courts often try to combine the two approaches, as M Joyce Schlosser writes, and often this leads to a weakening of one approach. Modernity has eroded parental rights in favour of the best interests of the child. Lord MacDermott, though he did not believe that natural parents had any special claim to the child, nonetheless wrote in his decision: While there is now no rule of law that the rights and wishes of unimpeachable parents must prevail over other considerations, such rights and wishes ... can be capable of ministering to the total welfare of the child in a special way, and must therefore preponderate in many cases. (J. v. C. [1970) A.C. 688, infra, n. 34.).
Attachment theory and social neuroscience tell us that we are wired for that special way. The parent-child bond serves as the foundational bond for the child. In Canada, courts remained divided on which approach to apply until well into the 1970s. Despite two SCC rulings that came down in the 1950s, Re Duffel: Martin v. Duffell and Hepton v. Maat, which ruled in favour of parental interests, lower courts ruled largely on ascendant, ie best, interest, though remained somewhat undecided and divided. The courts remain largely divide across the country on whether to apply the parental rights doctrine or best interest test or some balance of the two. It would seem the SOGI battle between teachers and parents reflects an ongoing societal dynamic about the rights of the parents versus best interests of the child.
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Why do parents fear and detest and resent SOGI to the degree that they do? Why don’t mother bears let you pet their cub, why do they get mean and angry when you try? The answer to both questions is the same. A child’s needs and best interests are served by the parents, by strengthening and supporting the attachment between child and parents. SOGI-styled pedagogy magnifies structural flaws in family attachments, it creates and magnifies rather than addresses developmental problems in children. It enhances the fractures in family relationships and it divides families. Parents lose in this new SOGI-dominated Canada. A decade ago Maté + Neufeld warned parents to hold onto their kids and Joel Bakan warned parents about childhood under siege. Here we find ourselves, living the warning out loud. SOGI can only survive and take root in pockets dominated by hyper-individualistic peer-oriented cultures. Teachers feel threatened by increased parental involvement, just as parents feel threatened by increased teacher involvement.
A teacher felt the need to send the following email to teaching staff in two SK schools.
I write today in frustration and fear. The Education Ministry's new anti-trans policies target children who are already at risk and marginalized. Seeking parental consent for a child's right to self-identity threatens children who may have unsupportive families. Schools must be a safe and caring environment for all children, without exceptions.
Fear mongering and anti-trans hate propaganda has been popularized and sensationalized in US politics.
There, an anti-trans violent movement began with these small micro-aggressions enforced in their education system through school policy. Tolerance of any oppression is a slippery slope. In the US, further policies were implemented in many school divisions that were racist and anti-feminist. Teachers have been fired for teaching their class about Black history and empathy.
Following and complying with these trends will produce a regression in the important work our school division has begun in sensitivity towards the LGBTQ+ community and our path to Truth and Reconciliation.
I implore you not to be complacent.
In Hope, Peace, and Love. —found via Twitter
That’s great that this teacher acknowledges school must be safe for all. I wonder, does that include female students who have had their sex-based rights taken from them to accomodate members of the opposite sex who decide to identify as female? Do schools remember they must provide safe and caring environments for female children, whom teachers routinely tell they do not exist (no such things as girls and boys) or they are selfish and bigoted to exclude boys from their spaces? Sex Denialism seems the opposite of safe and caring. Notice the gaslighting — violent anti-trans movement. Didn’t a mass shooter go on a rampage and wasn’t that shooter trans? Small microaggression — you mean like blaming the victims of a mass shooting for being anti-trans? Oppression — parental inclusion oppresses whom, exactly — would-be child abusers?
From a parent’s perspective, Parental Rights make perfect sense and from a child’s perspective they sound draconian and oppressive. The art of human-ing may lie in striking a balance between the two. The policy of informing parents does indeed have the potential to become a snitch rule that could harm kids. How do schools enforce this policy? For instance, how do schools exclude the parents to protect the Muslim girl who goes to school and removes her headscarf which her parents force her to wear, and whilst at the same time include the parents of the kid who goes to school and identifies as the opposite sex to protect that kid from making an unsound and uninformed decision? How can a policy which singles out a group of kids based on a protected trait, be allowed to stand?
What if, sometimes excluding parents promotes the best interest of the kid? I agree with the decision to put the brakes on transitioning in schools, don’t get me wrong. However, I do remember being an adolescent and I survived the adolescence of my son and daughter — parents often have no clue, we are often the last to know, we do not know everything. I know that hurts. I smoked at high school when I was a kid, the Catholic High School teachers did not try to stop me or notify my parents. Society has different views on smoking however, my point stands that parents do not know as much as they believe they do about what their kids do. My parents were South Asian hovercraft parents who knew everything and I told them everything and still they did not know all. Growing up means growing away from parents and that is a hard fact of parenting.
A policy that could potentially save a child from chemical castration and worst could also inflict a honour abuse or worse on a Muslim girl if it results in outing her bad hijab. Or it could result in a punishment or worst for by outing the Muslim girl who wears a headscarf in secret from her parents. How do we balance the needs of these two minority student groups with nearly opposing identity human rights needs? How do we keep parents included in their child’s decisions about gender and yet prevent them from smothering + oppressing their child over religious choices?
Parents, I don’t think Parental Rights will give you slam dunk you think it will. I think it will prove challenging to balance all the competing rights demands and mitigating factors. I think we are Canada and therefore we ought to give it an earnest go.
The CRRP theory of pedagogy that states children learn differently depending upon their culture and that the curriculum must be adapted to incorporate different race and identity based learning styles. It is an anathema to evidence-based work such as that of Katharine Birbalsingh at Michaela, which demonstrates a structured setting + civilly literate + a knowledge-based + traditional curriculum are associated with the best student performance and overall outcomes.